You and I, we’re not so different. You stare at me in the eyes, and feel the wonder of the skies. You wander the earth and climb the trees. And I feel you inside there looking at me.
You and I, we aren’t so different. You eat and sleep, and dream of things. You strive and fight, and wait for what life brings. You cuddle close, but sometimes want to be alone. You wander far, but call this home.
You and I, we’re not so different. You’ve got a face that I can’t erase. You walk and talk in your own way. Leave to venture, and return every day. Finding things like string to play.
You and I, we aren’t so different. You feel pain, and love, and a heart that aches. You live and breathe in a body that breaks. You pass the days in many ways, and all that time we both wait, for fate.
You and I, we’re the same.
It’s 11:00 AM in the new twilight of Daylight Savings, which means I’m even more behind than I think I am in real-time. I have a premise. I have research, I have inspiration. I have family support. I have everything but a story. Let’s get cracking!!
When I was eleven, I was asked to be in a school play. It was about Gilligan’s Island. And because I was skinny and had dark hair, they thought that I would be a good match for Gilligan. I loved that show and watched it whenever I could. I studied the script every night for a week. When it came time for the play I knew every one’s part. The interesting thing was that for months after the play, I could recite it word for word in my mind. I could see the words on the pages of the script in my head and in the dark of night. It was an empowering feeling. I loved the printed page. Words on paper, the smell of a book, the feel of covers, the texture of the pages. All those things were there with my eyes shut tight—as Dr. Seuss assured us.
As fiction writers our job is a delicate balance between making a tale that is believable but not boring. Inevitably, no matter what you are reading you are going to run into little things that make you think, “Well that wouldn’t happen.” Or, “That’s unlikely.” Get over it and enjoy the Story.
Story is what it’s all about, not realism. If it was real, Darth Vader would have gone home, become a wife beater, and had more illegitimate children. Luke would have run away, joined the military, and ended up fixing army droids while strung out on deathsticks. Those are boring things that have nothing to do with saving the Galaxy.
If you want realism, go down to the food-court at the mall and sit awhile, or shop at Wall-mart. Sit down, and watch it unfold. Story is something more. Sure, it may have some of those same characters in it, and there may be some of the mundane. But if it’s just people going about their lives, it’s probably going to be a memoire or a documentary. A series of events that are loosely related and meander here and there. That’s not actually Story, and that’s a book to nod off to late at night. Those are the kind of movies, that when they end, you find yourself thinking, “That’s the end? Really? WTF?”
Story grips you and never lets go. When you find Story, you get on the ride and there’s no getting off until it comes to a complete and final stop.